Everyone knows that a good offensive line makes a world of difference for skill position players, so these 2013 Offensive Line Rankings should help you decipher which QBs, RBs, WRs and TEs are in for good seasons ahead.
Remember that a good running back is only as good as the offensive line that blocks for him, and a great quarterback can’t complete passes to awesome wide receivers and tight ends if he’s lying flat on his back or always running for his life.
I did some digging and found three sites that did a ton of research to come up with their own 2013 offensive line rankings. So I averaged these three sets of rankings out to get a general consensus for readers. My thinking is, the three sets of rankings will give you more help than just the one set, but make sure you check out each site to see their in-depth analysis.
2013 Offensive Line Rankings
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2013 Offensive Line Rankings Breakdown
1. San Francisco 49ers: It seems like it was just yesterday that the 49ers had a horrible offensive line. Then they spent their two highest draft picks on linemen. In 2010, the drafted both RT Anthony Davis and LG Mike Iupati in the first round, and now they’re ranked No. 1. The left side features a pair of AP All-Pros.
2. New England Patriots: The Patriots actually got two No.1 votes, but FootballGuys has them a little lower. They’re considered one of the best pass-blocking units in the league, and they return most of their key players on the line, including four-time Pro Bowler, LG Logan Mankins.
3. Denver Broncos: Wherever Peyton Manning goes, the offensive line suddenly becomes better. That’s partly because he’s so good in the pocket, and the fact that teams are smart enough to keep their franchise player is safe.
4. Minnesota Vikings: What came first, the 2,000-yard chicken or the five fat eggs that blocked for it? Tackles Matt Kalil and Phil Loadholdt are the anchors for this team, which is interesting considering they are tough between the tackles as well.
5. Cleveland Browns: Their offensive line stats were actually rather average, but it is a young group, for the most part, that is expected to improve in 2013.
6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: They’ll get back All-Pro Carl Nicks, who missed most of 2012 after coming over in free agency. And they’ll get back G Davin Joseph, who is also considered a road-grading guard. They played a total of seven combined games last season.
7. Baltimore Ravens: LT Bryant McKinnie returns and their solid playoff run was in part to his shift over to left tackle. They’ve lost Matt Birk, and center Geno Gradkowski has big shoes to fill.
8. Houston Texans: This unit lost a couple players from 2011 to 2012, yet they didn’t show that it was much of an issue. They could easily be considered a top-five team, and few people would have issue with it.
9. New York Giants: Two sites have them in the top five, but FootballGuys has them outside of the top 15. They chose Syracuse OL Justin Pugh in the first round, and he could give them a nice boost. The Giants’ 18 rushing touchdowns ranked them fifth in the NFL>
10. Tennessee Titans: Coming off a subpar season, this O-line has a new rookie and a new free agent added to it, so it will take some time to gel. But both appear to be upgrades from their predecessors.
11. Cincinnati Bengals: Despite ranking in the bottom half of total rushing yards, average yards per rush, rushing touchdowns and sacks allowed, all three sites rank them in the top 12.
12. Seattle Seahawks: A better run-blocking team than a pass-blocking one, which is a good way to be if you have a decent scrambling quarterback, like Russell Wilson. All five starters return from a season ago, which could line them up for a deep run into the playoffs.
13. Washington Redskins: All five starters return from last year’s unit, which had a huge year, much thanks to the always-forging-forward RB Alfred Morris and the quick feet of QB Robert Griffin III. The five starting linemen started 79 of 80 man-games last season (16 games x 5 players).
14. Kansas City Chiefs: Solid in the run game, with plenty of room to improve everywhere else. Seems like the perfect “average” unit in 2013.
15. Philadelphia Eagles: Injuries crushed this offensive line’s ability last season, which pretty much crippled the running game and Michael Vick’s ability to stay healthy – and Andy Reid’s tenure as head coach.
16. New York Jets: Not sure how the Jets can rank this high, really, considering they were ranked 27th in in sacks allowed and 26th in average yards per rush (3.8). Oh yeah, and they lost both guards to free agency.
17. St. Louis Rams: The Rams brought in Pro Bowl LT and former No. 1 overall draft pick Jake Long to shore up their left side. He’ll join four starters that also started last season.
18. New Orleans Saints: This unit is in the middle of an upheaval, with plenty of position battles going on. It’ll be interesting to see if they can shore things up before they find Drew Brees on his back more often than not.
19. Carolina Panthers: Another solid unit whose stats are likely propped up due to the fleet feet of a great running quarterback. All five starters return for 2013, which makes me think this unit could rise quickly.
20. Indianapolis Colts: This unit could change a lot through the next few months, which makes them a shaky unit at best. But with Ahmad Bradshaw and Vick Ballard at running back, and a future All-Pro quarterback in Andrew Luck, they have the talent behind them to help their stats.
21. Jacksonville Jaguars: Tackle Luke Joeckel was their first-round pick, and he’ll solidify a group that wasn’t horrible in 2012, considering they had putrid QB play and Maurice Jones-Drew for less than half a season.
22. Green Bay Packers: This team was ranked No. 1 in the 2012 Offensive Line Rankings. But free-agent center Jeff Saturday wasn’t the same guy he was in Indianapolis, and he was benched, before finally retiring. The O-line has been revamped since January, so we’ll see what Mike McCarthy can do.
23. Pittsburgh Steelers: This team made offensive line a priority after the 2011 season, but injuries and bad play from their rookies kicked that idea in the nuts in 2012. While they might be healthy in 2013, they aren’t very experienced.
24. Atlanta Falcons: Seems like yesterday that this unit was one of the worst in decades, and then they rebounded big-time once Matt Ryan was drafted and Michael Turner arrived. Their center retired and their left tackle left for free agency.
25. Buffalo Bills: The Bills’ offensive line lost one of their top players to free agency, and they weren’t really great to begin with. We’ll see if a QB like E.J. Manuel can improve this line like Newton and RGIII did.
26. Chicago Bears: Jay Cutler had to be happy to see that the Bears’ top draft pick and most expensive free-agent signing were used to fix the offensive line.
27. Dallas Cowboys: It’s crazy to think how talented the skill position players are on this team, at every position, and how bad their offensive line is.
28. Oakland Raiders: Strong in the passing game, but horrible gaining ground on the ground. The Raiders should get back a healthy (for now) Darren McFadden, which should help their running game, but their QB play will dip without Carson Palmer.
29. Miami Dolphins: Jake Long moved along to St. Louis, returning to the Midwest, and the Dolphins believe they can be fine without him. They upgraded at wide receiver, certainly, but their starting tailback and left tackle are playing elsewhere. This could be rough season in South Florida for this unit.
30. Detroit Lions: The Lions were solid on the ground last season, but they lost three of their starting five offensive linemen, and should have a tough time early on.
31. Arizona Cardinals: Considered by many to be the worst offensive line in 2012, as they were last in rushing yards and sacks allowed. They’ll be hard-pressed to be that bad again. Then again, they’ll be hard-pressed to be any better, too.
32. San Diego Chargers: All three sites ranked this offensive line as the worst, or second-worst, unit in the league going into 2013. Will Philip Rivers be able to play all 16 games? We know Ryan Mathews won’t be able to. But a player like Danny Woodhead, who will be the perfect safety valve from oncoming rushers, stands to benefit.
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Hopefully, your Fantasy draft prep will benefit from getting a good idea about which offensive lines are going to give your players a hand or a hindrance. The 2013 Offensive Line Rankings will end up being one more tool in your Fantasy toolbelt. Speaking of great tools, check out the Top FREE Fantasy Football Draft Tools You Must Use this offseason.